When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon

Title: When Dimple Met Rishi
Author: Sandhya Menon
Series: N/A
Publication: 13th July 2017 by Hodder & Stoughton
Genre: YA, Contemporary, Romance.

Advanced Reading Copy provided, in exchanged for an honest review, from the publishers.

Around the World in 52 Books Challenge – A book written by a person of colour.

My Thoughts (2)

A laugh-out-loud, heartfelt YA romantic comedy, told in alternating perspectives, about two Indian-American teens whose parents have arranged for them to be married.

Dimple Shah has it all figured out. With graduation behind her, she’s more than ready for a break from her family, from Mamma’s inexplicable obsession with her finding the “Ideal Indian Husband.” Ugh. Dimple knows they must respect her principles on some level, though. If they truly believed she needed a husband right now, they wouldn’t have paid for her to attend a summer program for aspiring web developers…right?

Rishi Patel is a hopeless romantic. So when his parents tell him that his future wife will be attending the same summer program as him—wherein he’ll have to woo her—he’s totally on board. Because as silly as it sounds to most people in his life, Rishi wants to be arranged, believes in the power of tradition, stability, and being a part of something much bigger than himself.

The Shahs and Patels didn’t mean to start turning the wheels on this “suggested arrangement” so early in their children’s lives, but when they noticed them both gravitate toward the same summer program, they figured, Why not?

Dimple and Rishi may think they have each other figured out. But when opposites clash, love works hard to prove itself in the most unexpected ways.

My Thoughts

When Dimple met Rishi… she threw a drink in his face and ran away.

I have seen this book literally everywhere, and with good reason. This is one of those cute summer contemporary romance novels, plus it is diverse and did I mention totally adorable?

Dimple fierce, ambition and into  web development. She is all set for Uni and can’t wait to escape from her mum trying to find her the “Ideal Indian Husband”.  So she’s not too thrilled when Rishi pops up with;

“Hello, future wife,” he said, his voice bubbling with glee. “I can’t wait to get started on the rest of our lives!”

Although the blurb and synopsis seems to suggest the focus is on the arranged marriage, and this does have a major part, I would say that the focus is more on their developing romance and on the web design course.

If you’re into cute romances, this is for you.

My Thoughts (1)

4-stars

Truth or Dare by Non Pratt

Truth or Dare

Title: Truth or Dare
Author: Non Pratt
Series: N/A
Publication: 1st June 2017 by Walker Books
Genre: YA, Contemporary.

My Thoughts (2)

A powerful and moving novel about bravery from the Guardian’s “writer to watch” Non Pratt, perfect for fans of Rainbow Rowell, John Green and Holly Bourne. How far is too far when it comes to the people you love? Claire Casey hates being the centre of attention. But if it means getting Sef Malik to notice her, it’s a risk she’s happy to take. Sef is prepared to do anything to help his recently disabled brother. But this means putting Claire’s love – and life – on the line. Because when you’re willing to risk everything, what is there left to lose?

My Thoughts

You know those books where you put them down and you find yourself thinking about them? This is one of those books. I was halfway through and almost got hit in the face by a tennis ball because I was thinking about this book.

The book is one story with two sides. Literally. I loved the way that you read Claire’s side first then had to flip the book over to read Sef’s side. Seeing the story from the two different perspectives really helped to understand where the characters were coming from and the choices they made.

Non Pratt just has this way with words. This book may be aimed at teenagers but it it’s definitely for all ages. Non managed to explore a huge range of different subjects – including social media, racisim and disability – without them becoming the main focus and still somehow making it relatable.

Claire and Sef’s relationship was just beautifully written. I’ve read so many books recently where the relationships have been out of the blue or really quick but this wasn’t anything like them. The entire relationship just felt so natural and realistic. I found myself smiling at so many points, and doing my foot wiggle that I do when I’m loving a book.

I really must insist that you all go and read this book.

My Thoughts (1)

5-stars

One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus

One of Us Is Lying

Title: One of Us is Lying
Author: Karen M. McManus
Series: N/A
Publication: 30th May 2017 by Penguin
Genre: Fiction, YA, Mystery and Thriller

Around the World in 52 Books Challenge – A mystery

Synopsis (Goodeads)

One of Us Is Lying is the story of what happens when five strangers walk into detention and only four walk out alive. Everyone is a suspect, and everyone has something to hide.

Pay close attention and you might solve this.

On Monday afternoon, five students at Bayview High walk into detention.

Bronwyn, the brain, is Yale-bound and never breaks a rule.

Addy, the beauty, is the picture-perfect homecoming princess.

Nate, the criminal, is already on probation for dealing.

Cooper, the athlete, is the all-star baseball pitcher.

And Simon, the outcast, is the creator of Bayview High’s notorious gossip app.

Only, Simon never makes it out of that classroom. Before the end of detention Simon’s dead. And according to investigators, his death wasn’t an accident. On Monday, he died. But on Tuesday, he’d planned to post juicy reveals about all four of his high-profile classmates, which makes all four of them suspects in his murder. Or are they the perfect patsies for a killer who’s still on the loose?

Everyone has secrets, right? What really matters is how far you would go to protect them.

My Thoughts

Now here’s your assignment: connect the dots. Is everybody in it together, or is somebody pulling the strings? Who’s the puppet master and who’s the puppet? I’ll give you a hint to get you started: everyone’s lying. GO!

When I requested this book, it was described as The Breakfast Club meets Pretty Little Liars. Well what’s not to like? Simon’s blog posts reminded me more of Gossip Girl but I love that too!

I don’t read mysteries that often but it’s a genre I really enjoy, especially if I don’t guess the ending. I’m not going to lie, I didn’t guess who it was. The title lied, not only one of them was lying, they all were, and I suspected everyone. Everyone.

 The story is narrated by the four main characters – Bronwyn (The smart one) , Addy (The popular one), Nate (the bad boy) and Cooper (the jock). This meant the pace was pretty quick. Having the four perspectives meant that we got a lot more about each of the character’s backstories, which really fleshed them out and gave them growth. I ended up loving all four of them.

The only reason I didn’t give it 5* was because the ending didn’t sit quite right with me but I can’t really go into detail about that without spoilers. It was still a very enjoyable read.

A marvelous debut book, one that I’m sure I’ll still be remembering for months to come.

My Rating

4-stars

Dreamland by Sarah Dessen

Dreamland

Title: Dreamland
Author: Sarah Dessen
Series: N/A
Publication: 1st September 2000 by Puffin Books
Genre: YA,

Around the World in 52 Books Challenge– A book set in a fictional location

Synopsis (Goodreads)

Wake up, Caitlin

Ever since she started going out with Rogerson Biscoe, Caitlin seems to have fallen into a semiconscious dreamland where nothing is quite real. Rogerson is different from anyone Caitlin has ever known. He’s magnetic. He’s compelling. He’s dangerous. Being with him makes Caitlin forget about everything else–her missing sister, her withdrawn mother, her lackluster life. But what happens when being with Rogerson becomes a larger problem than being without him?

My Thoughts

Whoa, that was not what I was expecting. It was so much better.

I’ve been in a reading slump for a while, every book I’ve picked up I’ve struggled with reading more than 20 pages. Sarah Dessen is an author I can always rely on to pull me out of that slump. Usually her books are somewhat serious at times, with some serious themes weaved in but Dreamland took me completely by surprise. The story begins with Caitlin being left by her perfect older sister who has run away from her family, and Harvard, for a boy. Leaving her in a strange place, Caitlin tries to find herself in high school and dating a popular guy. I’m really reluctant to divulge any more as I don’t want to ruin it for anyone else.

Like her other books, this was a really easy read. Before I knew it, i was half way through the book. Some elements were a bit slow but the second half was really engaging. For some I imagine the second half would be more difficult for them to read because of the subject matter.

I would liked to have had more of a background on Rogerson, especially his family and for her best friend to have been fleshed out a little bit more.

Another great YA book, especially for fans of Sarah Dessen

My Rating

4-stars

Nina is Not OK by Shappi Khorsandi

Nina is Not OK

Title: Nina is Not OK
Author: Shappi Khorsandi
Series: N/A
Publication: 9th February 2017 by Random House UK
Genre: YA Fiction

ARC Provided by Random House UK Publishers in exchange for an honest review.

52 Book Challenge category –  A title that doesn’t contain the letter “E”.

Synopsis (Goodreads)

Nina does not have a drinking problem. She likes a drink, sure. But what 17-year-old doesn’t?

Nina’s mum isn’t so sure. But she’s busy with her new husband and five year old Katie. And Nina’s almost an adult after all.

And if Nina sometimes wakes up with little memory of what happened the night before, then her friends are all too happy to fill in the blanks. Nina’s drunken exploits are the stuff of college legend.

But then one dark Sunday morning, even her friends can’t help piece together Saturday night. All Nina feels is a deep sense of shame, that something very bad has happened to her…

My Thoughts

I’m always a bit skeptical when celebrities write books but I was blown (haha, no pun intended) away with this book. It isn’t a normal coming of age story. It deals with slut shaming, victim blaming, alcoholism and friendship among many other issues. Yet it still made me laugh on numerous occasions throughout.

The book opens with Nina being marched out of a club by a bouncer for performing a lewd sex act. She passes out with no memory of what happened until she is in the taxi clutching her knickers. These events lead to her drinking more heavily and inevitably leading her life to being spiraling out of control.

Khorsandi has done an amazing job of writing Nina and her story. Despite me not particularly liking her at the beginning I found myself rooting for her by the end. The book had a gripping and devolving plot, relatable characters  and, unfortunately, a very realistic reflection of society today.

This is definitely worth a read regardless of age or gender!

My Rating

5-stars

The Accident Season by Moira Fowley-Doyle

accident season.jpg

Title: The Accident Season
Author: Moira Fowley-Doyle
Series: N/A
Publication:  18th August 2015 by Corgi Children’s
Genre: YA Fiction.

52 Book Challenge category –  A book by an author you haven’t read before

Synopsis (Goodreads)

It’s the accident season, the same time every year. Bones break, skin tears, bruises bloom.

The accident season has been part of seventeen-year-old Cara’s life for as long as she can remember. Towards the end of October, foreshadowed by the deaths of many relatives before them, Cara’s family becomes inexplicably accident-prone. They banish knives to locked drawers, cover sharp table edges with padding, switch off electrical items – but injuries follow wherever they go, and the accident season becomes an ever-growing obsession and fear.

But why are they so cursed? And how can they break free?

My Thoughts

I finished this book late at night. I’m not sure if it was my tiredness or the abstract prose but I’m not really sure how this book ended.

The story is about a girl called Cara and her family. In October, her family begin to wrap themselves up in extra clothing to protect themselves as they become more accident prone – the time they call the accident season. The book begins with Cara noticing a childhood friend, who she rarely speaks to any more – Elsie – appearing in all her pictures. Sometimes it’s her hair, others her elbow but she appears in every photo.

The book is full of a lot of strange bits, often seemingly random, about witches and mermaids. The first 3/4 of the book was quite slow, obviously building up to some twist. I almost put the book down within the first half as I found the plot to be going no where. So when I finally read the last quarter, I was confused with the explanation of the accidents and Elsie, among other things.

Due to the revelations and twists at the end of the book, it’s really hard to delve into character’s and why I liked/disliked them. I found Bea’s personality off putting. She’s a tarot  reader and has the a flare for creating strange tales. I found her tales unusual, out of place and in a few instances went on for a while. On the other hand, I really liked Alice and found her realistic.

As my first read of 2017 it was a very unusual and strange book.

My Rating

2star

All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

All the Bright Places

Title: All The Bright Places
Author: Jennifer Niven
Series: N/A
Publication: 6th January 2015.
Genre: YA, Fiction, Love and Romance.

Synopsis (Goodreads)

Theodore Finch is fascinated by death, and he constantly thinks of ways he might kill himself. But each time, something good, no matter how small, stops him.

Violet Markey lives for the future, counting the days until graduation, when she can escape her Indiana town and her aching grief in the wake of her sister’s recent death.

When Finch and Violet meet on the ledge of the bell tower at school, it’s unclear who saves whom. And when they pair up on a project to discover the “natural wonders” of their state, both Finch and Violet make more important discoveries: It’s only with Violet that Finch can be himself—a weird, funny, live-out-loud guy who’s not such a freak after all. And it’s only with Finch that Violet can forget to count away the days and start living them. But as Violet’s world grows, Finch’s begins to shrink.

My Thoughts

I’m trying to write this review about a month after completing it so I can confidently say that this was a good but forgettable book. I have found myself having to read numerous reviews to remind myself what the book was about.

As the blurb clearly states, this book is about depression and suicide. For some, this book will be world changing, enlightening and something they can clearly relate to. For others, it will be infuriating and possibly predictable..

I fall into the latter. As I was reading the book, I really couldn’t relate to the characters. They felt, to me, like the illness put into human form. There was nothing else about them other than the mental illness. Now, I can understand why the author has done this – they are important and increasingly common illnesses that people will encounter through their lifetime, whether it’s personally or in passing. I assume that she wanted to show how the illness can control you life and show that having a supportive network family and friends is important. However, I personally found the characters very 2D and didn’t grow to love them.

I did like the ending, it surprised me and was the only part that I found gripping.

I can understand why this book has got the hype it has but for me it was a lead balloon.

My rating

three-stars

Everything, Everything

Everything, Everything

Title: Everything, Everything
Author: 
Nicola Yoon
Series: N/A
Publication:
1st September 2015 by Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Genre: YA

Synopsis (Goodreads)

My disease is as rare as it is famous. Basically, I’m allergic to the world. I don’t leave my house, have not left my house in seventeen years. The only people I ever see are my mom and my nurse, Carla.

But then one day, a moving truck arrives next door. I look out my window, and I see him. He’s tall, lean and wearing all black—black T-shirt, black jeans, black sneakers, and a black knit cap that covers his hair completely. He catches me looking and stares at me. I stare right back. His name is Olly.

Maybe we can’t predict the future, but we can predict some things. For example, I am certainly going to fall in love with Olly. It’s almost certainly going to be a disaster.

My Thoughts

I originally picked this book up because it was the book sent in the previous Illumicrate box, so I thought it must be good!

This is one of those books that’s just okay, then it has a massive twist at the end. And it just left me feeling so cross and cheated.

Everything, Everything is a story about Madeline, a girl who has the rare condition SCID, meaning that due to her hypersensitivity, if she were ever to go outside of her house into the unfiltered air, something, anything, could trigger symptomatic attacks that could potentially kill her. For the past seventeen years, she has been in the house with her nurse and mum looking after her, whilst she does her school work through skype sessions. When Olly moves in next door, her daily consistencies change.

To sum this book up briefly:

  • Instalove
  • An illness that you don’t really learn much about
  • A plot twist that is unrealistic and left me feeling cheated and annoyed, not shocked or happy.

By halfway through the book I was bored. I pushed myself to finish it because it’s not that long and because I’d heard of the hype so thought it had to get better. I liked Madeline and Olly, especially the IM and little messages but I just wasn’t feeling it. The whole story didn’t sit right. Then we got to the plot twist and I turned from bored to cross. It explained why the story didn’t feel right but it felt like an easy cop out to let love triumph.

When will I learn and stop picking up over hyped book…?

My Rating

2star

When We Collided by Emery Lord

When We Collided

Title: When We Collided
Author: 
Emery Lord
Series: N/A
Publication:
5th April 2016 by Bloomsbury USA Children
Genre: YA


Synopsis (Goodreads)

We are seventeen and shattered and still dancing. We have messy, throbbing hearts, and we are stronger than anyone could ever know…

Jonah never thought a girl like Vivi would come along.

Vivi didn’t know Jonah would light up her world.

Neither of them expected a summer like this…a summer that would rewrite their futures.

In an unflinching story about new love, old wounds, and forces beyond our control, two teens find that when you collide with the right person at just the right time, it will change you forever.

My Thoughts

I picked this book up for two reasons.

  1. The front cover intrigued me.
  2. It was in one of the illumicrate boxes before I started ordering them.

I ended up feeling really conflicted by the end.

The book is about Jonah, a sweet, quiet, grieving boy who is trying to look after his family after the sudden death of his father, which leaves his mother bed ridden in mourning . It is also about Vivi, who is vibrant, spontaneous and completely gets on my nerves.

I really wanted to enjoy this book, it real and difficult issues such as dealing with grief, stress and mental illness, but I just found it infuriating. I adored Jonah, he was sweet, real and likable. Vivi on the other hand was meant to be different and unique but I just found her to be annoying and controlling. Every time I read a chapter with her perspective I found myself rolling my eyes. The romance was a dominating part of the book and as I disliked Vivi so much, I just didn’t feel the chemistry between the two characters. It felt almost like watching 5 year olds, where one says “you’re my boyfriend now” and the other says “uh, ok” and then the child pulls the other around forcing them to play and do the things they want to do.

When I met Jonah Daniels yesterday, there was a magical shift in the trajectory of my summer. He’s the ring to my Frodo, the wardrobe to my Lucy Pevensie. His presence in my life sets me on my journey, and I can feel it, a vital mission pulsing in my bones. Here is a boy who needs me.

Vivi didn’t ask permission to do things, she didn’t think about how it would affect others, she just did. And falling in love with Jonas was one of these.

I feel that this book had huge issues it wanted to share and develop with the audience but it was just over powered by the romance element. Looking at it from the mental illness perspective, it was far more interesting than any of the romance parts. It allowed us to see two different perspectives of it; someone living with it firsthand and someone living with it through a loved one.

Although there were incredibly infuriating parts of the book, I thought the ending was absolutely perfect.

My Rating

three-stars

 

Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

Carry On

Title: Carry On
Author: Rainbow Rowell
Series: N/A
Publication: 6th October 2015 by Macmillan Publishers
Genre: YA, Fantasy.

ARC provided by Macmillan Publishers in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis (Goodreads)

Simon Snow is the worst Chosen One who’s ever been chosen.

That’s what his roommate, Baz, says. And Baz might be evil and a vampire and a complete git, but he’s probably right.

Half the time, Simon can’t even make his wand work, and the other half, he sets something on fire. His mentor’s avoiding him, his girlfriend broke up with him, and there’s a magic-eating monster running around wearing Simon’s face. Baz would be having a field day with all this, if he were here—it’s their last year at the Watford School of Magicks, and Simon’s infuriating nemesis didn’t even bother to show up.

Carry On is a ghost story, a love story, and a mystery. It has just as much kissing and talking as you’d expect from a Rainbow Rowell story — but far, far more monsters.

My Thoughts

This is book is something special. After being on a reading slump for a long time this book turned out to be my medicine – it contained everything that I needed; magic, mystery and lots of kissing. I was up until 1am to finish it, I just couldn’t put it down.

The book was really easy to get into. If you’ve read Rainbow’s book Fangirl you will have already have been introduced to the characters through Cath’s fanfiction of the Simon Snow books by Gemma T. Leisle in her world. That doesn’t mean you have to have read Fangirl to understand this one, as Carry On is a stand alone book written from, and by, Rainbow. In her own words…

After I finished writing Fangirl, I kept thinking about Simon and Baz and the World of Mages … I wanted to write more about them, but I didn’t want to write the full series GTL-style. And I also didn’t want to write through Cath’s hands and brain.

I wanted to explore what would do with this world and these characters.

So, even though I’m writing a book that was inspired by fictional fanfiction of a fictional series …

… I think what I’m writing now is canon.

The Simon Snow books in Cath’s world resemble the Harry Potter series but they’re not Harry Potter as her world also references Harry Potter by name. In the note at the end Rainbow says she has always loved books about Chosen Ones and that is what this book is, how she would write her own chosen one. Yes, it has a lot of ties to Harry Potter, which may frustrate a lot of people, but it also has a lot of ties to other books with the same idea at it’s core – Where are Frodo’s parent’s or most Disney princess’ parents?  There is a prophesy of a Chosen one in Star Wars  and an old guy in robes who helps him. The Worst Witch, Mildred, also attends a magical school. These ideas are not unique to just Harry Potter. There are also lots of unique qualities and the book has different themes and focuses.

The story follows Simon, a prophesied powerful saviour, and his friends. He knows his destiny is destroy the evil creature of the world, something he has been doing for years already. He’s expected to do this whilst sharing a room with Baz, his worst enemy and the one most likely to kill him.

I found the book a little slow to begin with. The blurb mentioned his room mate Baz, who was missing and we heard nothing from for the first quarter of the book. It mentioned his girlfriend breaking up with him, which took a very long time. However, when things did get moving, it was gripping. The book was written from different character’s perspectives. I personally loved Baz, finding him the most interesting character, and I really enjoyed his relationship with Simon. I loved that all his feeling were laid out from the beginning. There were some perspectives that I found less interesting, especially Agatha’s.

I thought the magic was interesting – you just have to say a common phrase to cast the spell. These were sometimes songs, book quotes or proverbs eg. Cats got your tongue. Hammer time. Be our guest. It was an interesting take something that commonly occurs in books.

I think what people like about Rowell’s books so much are her characters. She manages to write real characters with situations and emotions the reader can relate to. In this case we have Baz who is “Yes, I’m gay, I’ve known for a long time” while Simon is like “hmmm, excellent question. I’ve never really thought about it”. Their relationship was natural and wasn’t used as a plot twist in any way.

What I liked most about the book is the ending. I loved that I thought I knew who sent the Vampires half way through the book and was all set up to be disappointed that I guessed it so easily. Then BAM it wasn’t what I expected.

So, whatever you’re doing to keep us hooked, Rainbow, Carry On!

My Rating

5-stars